MRI confirms Hornets' Ball has sprained ankle

by Gordon Dixon - An MRI confirmed Hornets All-Star point guard LaMelo Ball has a left ankle sprain, the team announced Tuesday.

MRI confirms Hornets' LaMelo Ball has sprained left ankle 4:36 PM ET ESPN News Services An MRI confirmed Charlotte Hornets All-Star point guard LaMelo Ball has a left ankle sprain, the team announced Tuesday. Ball's return to full basketball activities will be determined by how he responds to rehab and treatment, the team said, adding that further updates on his status will be provided as appropriate. Ball left Monday night's preseason game against the Washington Wizards after his foot was stepped on by Anthony Gill as he was driving toward the basket. Ball collapsed to the floor and remained there for several minutes before getting up, limping to the foul line and shooting two free throws. He then exited the game and headed to the locker room. Hornets head coach Steve Clifford said after practice that Ball and injured center Mason Plumlee (foot) will not travel with the team to Philadelphia for Wednesday night's preseason finale. Clifford made his comments before Ball's MRI results were announced. The Hornets open the regular season at San Antonio on Oct. 19. Clifford said Terry Rozier would start at point guard if Ball is out for the season opener. "Terry was the starting point guard on a team (the Boston Celtics in 2017-18) that went to the Eastern Conference finals," Clifford said. "It's a role he is comfortable with and if that ends up being the situation, that is how we will do it.'' Clifford said he spoke with Ball, adding that he's in good spirits. "We talked about whatever the plan is, you have to be on the rehab,'' Clifford said. "The better you are with it, the quicker you will get back. He was disappointed but very upbeat. It's just part of the NBA.'' Clifford said the injury would also mean Dennis Smith Jr . would see more playing time. The Associated Press contributed to this report.